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Growing SD Network Demand Spans Many Enterprise Types

ISG Provider Lens™ report says software-defined networks can offer a range of different benefits depending on a company’s maturity, size and objectives

Enterprises of all kinds are considering or using software-defined (SD) networking to improve their operations and competitiveness, according to a new research report published today by Information Services Group (ISG) (Nasdaq: III), a leading global technology research and advisory firm.

The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Network — Software Defined Solutions and Services Archetype report finds that organizations around the world see value in SD networking for increasing flexibility, streamlining network management and supporting remote work and business continuity. SD networking is growing hand in hand with the rise of cloudification and digital business transformation as companies seek to better serve customers and adapt to new business conditions.

“The transition to SD networking involves not just new technologies but new processes and management practices,” said Dieter Thompson, president, ISG Global Network Services. “Leading service providers can help enterprises advance by offering different combinations of services for the major types of clients in the market.”

Recent changes in business requirements and the overall evolution of IT are increasing the adoption of several technologies and services in this area, including SD wide-area networking (SD-WAN), secure access service edge (SASE), transformation services, and edge devices and networks, the report says. Several kinds of enterprises are focused on improving the integration, orchestration and management of their networks through cloud-based control and automation.

SD networking supports cloud and multi-cloud migrations by reducing complexity and risk, ISG says. Better network flexibility also enables fast (often automatic) provisioning of new services to customers, rapid hot-spot setup and implementation of innovations using AI, machine learning, edge computing and other technologies. As network security becomes more critical amid growing threats, SD networking is paving the way for deployment of end-to-end SASE solutions across entire integrated networks.

Depending on how far they have advanced in SD networking and how much they are open to change, enterprises may be seeking unified network management, end-to-end security, cost savings, and rapid or more gradual transformation.

The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Network — Software Defined Solutions and Services Archetype report examines four different types of clients, or archetypes, that are looking for SD networking technologies and services. The report evaluates the capabilities of 34 SD networking providers to deliver services to the four archetypes:

Disruption Embracers: These clients are small and midsize enterprises with SD-WAN deployments and multi-cloud-based applications. They are satisfied with best-of-breed solutions in specific areas but want strong orchestration and single-pane-of-glass monitoring and management. These clients can rapidly adopt disruptive solutions and are seeking providers with innovative solutions.

Advanced Edge and SASE Adopters: These are midsize to large enterprises that already consume managed services and may outsource their services completely. They have transformation roadmaps and are under pressure to accelerate them, and they need a fully secure transactional network. These organizations are considering SASE for short-term pilots or full deployments and are seeking providers with consulting and advisory abilities.

Aggressive Adopters: These midsize to large enterprises have evolved from a siloed infrastructure and are migrating from MPLS-centric carrier services to SD network solutions. They typically have a strong portfolio of modern applications and a roadmap for transformation. These clients are looking for a solution that lowers costs while achieving business goals. They want providers that can assess their environment and offer consulting on edge transformation and integration.

Moderate Transformers: These large enterprises are in the process of turning networks into a function that enables business differentiation and performance while reducing costs. Most already use SD networks or are on a path to adopting them. They seek solutions they can operate themselves or in a co-managed model with a provider, and they are likely to roll out pilot projects one department at a time to justify the cost.

Among the providers ISG evaluated, Orange Business Services and Verizon are named as Leaders across all four archetypes. AT&T, HCL, Tech Mahindra, T-Mobile and Wipro are named as Leaders across three archetypes each. Apcela, Cisco, Extreme Networks, Juniper Networks, Lumen Technologies and Versa Networks are named as Leaders in two quadrants each. Aryaka, Cato Networks, GTT, IBM, NTT and Open Systems are named as Leaders in one quadrant each.

The 2022 ISG Provider Lens™ Network — Software Defined Solutions and Services Archetype report is available to subscribers or for one-time purchase on this webpage.

About ISG Provider Lens Research

The ISG Provider Lens™ Quadrant research series is the only service provider evaluation of its kind to combine empirical, data-driven research and market analysis with the real-world experience and observations of ISG's global advisory team. Enterprises will find a wealth of detailed data and market analysis to help guide their selection of appropriate sourcing partners, while ISG advisors use the reports to validate their own market knowledge and make recommendations to ISG's enterprise clients. The research currently covers providers offering their services globally, across Europe, as well as in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, the U.K., France, Benelux, Germany, Switzerland, the Nordics, Australia and Singapore/Malaysia, with additional markets to be added in the future. For more information about ISG Provider Lens research, please visit this webpage.

A companion research series, the ISG Provider Lens Archetype reports, offer a first-of-its-kind evaluation of providers from the perspective of specific buyer types.

About ISG

ISG (Information Services Group) (Nasdaq: III) is a leading global technology research and advisory firm. A trusted business partner to more than 800 clients, including more than 75 of the world’s top 100 enterprises, ISG is committed to helping corporations, public sector organizations, and service and technology providers achieve operational excellence and faster growth. The firm specializes in digital transformation services, including automation, cloud and data analytics; sourcing advisory; managed governance and risk services; network carrier services; strategy and operations design; change management; market intelligence and technology research and analysis. Founded in 2006, and based in Stamford, Conn., ISG employs more than 1,300 digital-ready professionals operating in more than 20 countries—a global team known for its innovative thinking, market influence, deep industry and technology expertise, and world-class research and analytical capabilities based on the industry’s most comprehensive marketplace data. For more information, visit


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